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  • Unlocked iPhone 4S - *Will Be GSM Only*

    The unlocked iPhone 4S will be available in the U.S. in November of 2011; unlocked iPhone 4's just went on sale in June of 2011.

    This morning, Apple's website was bombarded with preorders for the iPhone 4S. Possibly to help reduce traffic and make consumers think twice, Apple quietly added to their website today that if you wait until November you can get yourself an unlocked, contract free iPhone that will work on any GSM carrier.


    As noted above, from Apple's website, the unlocked iPhone will work on any GSM network, such as AT&T in the U.S., but will not work with any CDMA networks such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint. This means that the iPhone 4S *can* be brought over to T-Mobile even though Apple made no mention of their name on their website. Unfortunately, you will be bolted down to 2G (Edge) speeds. When traveling abroad, swapping your micro SIM may be necessary; you can get together with the local GSM carrier of the place you are staying to obtain one.

    Although, in a few other countries the unlocked iPhone 4S has already been put up for preorder. People living in the U.K. can preorder themselves an iPhone 4S: 499 pounds for 16GB models, 599 pounds for 32GB models, and 699 pounds for 64GB models, respectively. Anyone in Germany and France can also preorder themselves an iPhone 4S for the cost of cost 629 euros for 16GB models, 739 euros for 32GB models, and 849 euros for 64GB models, respectively. For pricing in the U.S., you can find that in the screenshot above if you didn't see it already. Also note that the contract-bound iPhone 4S will be available in stores on October 14th for the usual iPhone pricing ($199/16GB, $299/32GB, $399/64GB).

    Apple is warning its customers that a credit check maybe be needed to get an unlocked iPhone 4S in November and that the buyer must be at least 18 years of age. They're also suggesting their Applecare+ plan which offers up to two accidental repairs.

    Apple's website appears to be mobbed with preorders because the iPhone 4S preorder part of the website has been clicking on and off all morning; a likely side effect of high traffic.


    Reports from Macstories also suggest that AT&T's website is suffering the same results; they offer this advice:
    Quote Originally Posted by Macstories
    • AT&T: We’re hearing reports that their site isn’t any better off than Apple’s. You can give it shot — we also hear that due to the volume of requests, Apple is sending customers reservation #’s to complete their orders at a later time.
    • Sprint: When we last checked, Apple was telling new Sprint customers to visit retail stores (only previous customers are eligible to upgrade to the iPhone 4S). Sprint’s website, however, is taking orders for new customers and offers AppleCare+ for $99, and will ship Oct 14th – 15th if you get in.
    • Verizon: Verizon’s site is holding up well (you can probably check out now without issues), but they don’t offer the $99 AppleCare+ plan (there are monthly Verizon equipment plans instead, and you can decline insurance).
    I know that many people here at Modmyi have been asking the question, "Will the unlocked iPhone 4S let me take my iPhone from GSM carriers to CDMA carriers?" Unfortunately not. Share your thoughts below!

    Sources: CNET, Macstories
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Unlocked iPhone 4S - *Will Be GSM Only* started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 50 Comments
    1. fbiryujin's Avatar
      fbiryujin -
      That's ridiculous. If it's a CDMA/GSM phone that is unlocked for GSM only, then it is not unlocked.
    1. Raeki's Avatar
      Raeki -
      Imo that defeats (half) the purpose of a world phone. And half the purpose of an unlocked iPhone.
    1. rayzah_blade's Avatar
      rayzah_blade -
      Um, yeah it is. It's two completely different phone services. So while it may not be unlocked on CDMA (non sim), it is unlocked for those rocking sim cards.
    1. Kotin6006's Avatar
      Kotin6006 -
      It is up to the carrier to allow for CDMA phones to be used on their network. Plus most of the world uses GSM technology for their networks.
    1. maddawg05's Avatar
      maddawg05 -
      ^ like he said most of the world is on GSM. Apple's way of making more money for themselves versus the carrier.
    1. Madman604x's Avatar
      Madman604x -
      Hold up, does this mean I can use it on Mobilicity (AWS 1700/2100) frequencies?
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      To be honest every GSM phone is a world phone.

      Why would you need an unlocked CDMA chip?
      CDMA is where? Only the U.S. and China, and you still have GSM networks to fall back on.

      And, correct me if I'm wrong, it's not a simple as popping out/in SIM cards to switch between CDMA networks. How does one change carrier from Verizon to Sprint and keep their existing phone?

      If you want the phone to work on Verizon get the Verizon model, if you want it to work on Sprint get that model. Are you really gonna be swapping between the two before your contract it up?

      @Madman604x it can work on 2100 frequency alright. Dunno about 1700.
    1. mallenass's Avatar
      mallenass -
      i preordered mine today. hells to the yesss
    1. kuhndsn's Avatar
      kuhndsn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Raeki View Post
      Imo that defeats (half) the purpose of a world phone. And half the purpose of an unlocked iPhone.
      CDMA is carrier specific there for you have to signup with them so they can activate your service. As far as world phone is concerned CDMA is not used widely like here in the states and china. CDMA went away for the most part in EU a long time ago. Simply piping in a SIM is where it's at. I for one hated CDMA in the late 90's. For gsm I pick up a local sim at what ever country I visit for a few bucks. CDMA needs a service call.
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Getting confused....CDMA is not unlocked, GSM is unlockedGSM phone owners can not bring their CDMA/GSM phone to CDMA carriers, so what is the point of it having CDMA? Might as well just call it a unlocked GSM phone.
    1. sik2mystomach's Avatar
      sik2mystomach -
      Sooo that pic that popped up a few months back of the n94 (4s) running on tmobile 3g was fake?
    1. GrandMstrBud's Avatar
      GrandMstrBud -
      So you go and spend $849 for the high end model and a 6 months later you decide to switch service to Sprint or Verizon you can not use the unlocked one? If that's the case they need to drop the prices on these by at least 100 bucks per model.

      Quote Originally Posted by Madman604x View Post
      Hold up, does this mean I can use it on Mobilicity (AWS 1700/2100) frequencies?
      Nope, huge failure on Apple's part. If they would have then I'm sure they would sell a lot more "unlocked" phones.
    1. spider_romeo's Avatar
      spider_romeo -
      Yes..yes..yes...
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      This morning, Apple's website was bombarded with preorders for the iPhone 4S. Possibly to help reduce traffic and make consumers think twice, Apple quietly added to their website today that if you wait until November you can get yourself an unlocked, contract free iPhone that will work on any GSM carrier.
      I'm thinking it had less to do with helping traffic and more to do with the politics of business with their carriers. No other reason why the rest of the world gets the unlocked one and the US has to wait til November.
    1. daytonaviolet's Avatar
      daytonaviolet -
      i wonder if the unlocked ip4s in uk are GSM unlocked only as well?

      i wonder if the ip4s in UK is gsm unlocked only??
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      The UK site has the same message about only working with GSM carriers.
    1. flintoff's Avatar
      flintoff -
      so correct me if im wrong if i buy iphone 4s from sprint . will it work with any simcard out side the us ?? or no ??since apple is saying that its a world phone ??? or i will have to buy another unlocked phone ??
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by flintoff View Post
      so correct me if im wrong if i buy iphone 4s from sprint . will it work with any simcard out side the us ?? or no ??since apple is saying that its a world phone ??? or i will have to buy another unlocked phone ??
      Yes it will work with GSM SIM cards; on roaming that is.
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Not sure I understand how that works. So say you go to the UK and get a sim from O2. It would still be roaming with Sprint?
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
      Not sure I understand how that works. So say you go to the UK and get a sim from O2. It would still be roaming with Sprint?
      The way that the iPhone 4S works is, if you are on a CDMA carrier, when you go out of range of CDMA signal, it will pick up a GSM signal if you have data roaming set to 'on.' From my knowledge, it is still cloudy as to whether or not you will need a SIM to do that - since the billing and communications all goes through your CDMA carrier in the long run.